Why PR over Work Pass and Visas?

Should I apply for Singapore PR or Work Pass/Visa?

Are you planning to work or establish your family in Singapore? If the answer is yes, have you ever considered applying for a Permanent Residence (PR) status? Unlike work passes and visas, PR status does not expire, allowing you to reside in Singapore for as long as you desire. However, do note that if you plan to travel overseas, you will be required to apply for the Re-Entry Permit (REP) or you will face losing your PR status. Though the process of applying for this permit may seem like a hassle, in reality, it is extremely efficient and economical.

Is the REP application and renewal troublesome?

After receiving your PR status, you will then be required to purchase an Entry Permit, a 5-year Re-Entry Permit (REP), and an Identity Card. Do note that you might have to top up an additional amount for an Entry Visa, should you require one to enter Singapore. An additional fee will also be charged when you renew your permit every five years. The general processing time of the REP is also extremely fast, and you would expect to hear from the authorities within a week, as long as you renew your REP within three months from its expiry date. A great point to note is that the process is extremely efficient as you would have to submit your Singapore Permanent Resident renewal request online and extra supporting documents are only required to be submitted upon the request of ICA.

The benefits of becoming a PR

Compared to Work Passes and Visas, PR provides a much larger and wider safety net to fall back on and provides multiple perks you would otherwise not be able to enjoy. Unlike Work Passes, the job opportunities available to PRs are much larger, as priorities are often given to Citizens and PRs when a company hires. You no longer need to anxiously wait for a favourable outcome of your work passes renewals every two years, fearing that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) may reject your application. As your work pass is tied to the company you are working for, changing jobs can be tedious as your new employer will have to help you apply for a new work pass which is also subjected to approval from MOM. Therefore, becoming a PR allows you to enjoy much greater flexibility in the job market.

Furthermore, if you were to bring your family with you to Singapore, it will be much easier and less stressful as a PR, as you will be able to apply PR for your immediate family members too. As a work pass holder, the criteria to be eligible to apply for Dependent’s Pass and Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP) are also much more stringent compared to a PR. You must be an Employment Pass holder earning a monthly salary of at least SGD 6,000 to be eligible while applying LTVP for parents requires the EP holder to command a salary of at least SGD 12,000 a month.

Family member Pass type
Legally married spouse Dependant’s Pass
Unmarried children under 21, including those legally adopted Dependant’s Pass
Common-law spouse Long Term Visit Pass
Unmarried handicapped children above 21 Long Term Visit Pass
Unmarried step-children under 21 Long Term Visit Pass
Parents(Only for EP holders earning at least $12,000)

Long Term Visit Pass

Table from the MOM website showing ‘the family members you can bring in and the type of pass they need’

Both Dependant’s Pass and LTVP’s validity are dependent on the sponsor’s Employment Pass too. Therefore, once the Employment Pass holder’s Pass expires, both of these passes will be immediately invalid too. On the other hand, when you are eligible and apply for PR, you are able to sponsor your spouse and unmarried children (under 21) to apply for PR with you. By obtaining PR status, your spouse and unmarried children (under 21) will receive much more benefits residing in Singapore.

By becoming a PR, you will also be able to enjoy the advantages of having a Central Provident Fund (CPF) account. CPF is a good way to save and grow money for retirement thanks to its better than market interest levels. Both you and your employer will contribute a part of your salary to your CPF account. If you are concerned about not being able to access this money until much later, well, CPF can be used for a variety of purposes. Not only can CPF be used to cover qualified medical expenses, it can also be used to purchase property through the CPF housing loan. You can also save up for the different retirement plans offered by the government where you will be able to receive an allowance every month at the age of 65.

If you are a parent of schooling children, well, getting a PR will significantly increase your chances of getting your child a place in public schools as priorities given to PR are only second to Citizens. This will definitely help you save a lot of money, as school fees are significantly cheaper for PR as compared to foreigners. For instance, the monthly school fee of a primary school student for PR is around SGD 200 currently while monthly school fees for international students from non-ASEAN countries cost up to almost SGD 2,000 in 2022.

Although the application process of PR may be troublesome, compared to the constant need for renewing passes, the uncertainty of work passes and the myriad of benefits becoming a PR has, it is definitely a worthy try to apply for one.

– Written by: Fang Wenting, Cayman Management Consultants

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